Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


USA Rugby and NCAA Deal Faith Losses on the Field

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Religion took a double hit on the sporting field in recent days.First the NCAA banned messages embedded in eye-black–those stripes of glare-killing grease football players wear on their cheeks, and that Florida quaterback Tim Tebow imprinted with biblical verses.


The eye-black messages were not always religious–former USC star Reggie Bush displayed his hometown’s area code on his eye-black out of civic pride–and the NCAA says its ban is not aimed at any one player. But the ban now leaves only a players’ hair for incorporating Bible passages into their look.
Meanwhile, the Brigham Young University women’s rugby team has sent their own religious message. If the team makes it into the round of 16 teams playing for the collegiate rugby championship, as is expected, the BYU team will forfeit their quarterfinal match because it is slated to be played on Sunday. No teams at the Mormon school play on the Christian sabbath. The rugby authorities had tried to accommodate the Cougars, but “an oversight,” said a USA Rugby official, scheduled the quarterfinal for Sunday.
There’s no telling how many players have to make the decision to play against the demands of their faith each Saturday across the country. As we become a more religiously diverse nation, it’s unimaginable that we could accommodate all of them. It will come as cold comfort to BYU’s players that they stand up for many when they refuse to take the field. Iin some ways the testament make as a team may be the most sporting moment of their lives.



  • Shawn

    I like what BYU is trying to do an what they are standing up for, but it seems as though there is a double standard. They had no issue at all when Steve Young, a decendant of their namesake, and someone currently featured in promotional videos for the church, made millions (and therefore tithed millions) by playing football on Sundays. It just seems very hypocritical to me.

  • Andrew

    @Shawn
    No double standard at all. These women play on a team representing Brigham Young University, a higher learning institution owned and sponsored by their church. “They seemed to have no issue at all…” Who is “they”? Steve Young chose himself to make a living and in order to do so play games on Sunday. That was his choice and had nothing to do with “They”.
    Other football players made a different choice, as did Eli Herring. I respect each for their individual choice.
    Really bad logic.

  • Dave

    Steve Young is an individual that is Mormon and has been taught what the commandments are, but makes his own decisions. BYU is an institutiopn that is supported and governed by the church and has to abide by it’s policies. There is no double standard on the part of the school or church, this has been their policy from the begining. But, when it comes to members, the church teaches “correct principles, and let them govern themselves”.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Herring Derek

    This guy gave up millions to stand up for his religious principles:
    Eli Herring
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Eli Herring is a former Brigham Young University offensive tackle who for religious reasons involving working on the Sabbath decided not to play in the National Football League and made his intention clear to all NFL teams prior to the 1995 NFL draft. Nonetheless, the devout Mormon was drafted in the 6th round by the Oakland Raiders. He now is married with six children and works as a school teacher and assistant football coach at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah. He is one of few people to get drafted in the NFL after declaring an intention never to play.

  • Ron

    @Shawn
    Another point is that Steve Young chose to honor another day of the week as the Sabbath. He made an effort to devote some time every week to his faith, even if it couldn’t be on Sunday.

  • Newsguy

    Not trying to gang up on Shawn, but your comment reflects a big misunderstanding about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church does not dictate to the members. As Dave said it teaches correct principles but lets us govern ourselves. Sunday worship is an important and vital part of the faith but we are taught to make every day a day of personal dedication to our religious principles and faith and Steve Young along with many other Mormons does that. I was in the TV news business for nearly 15 years, that was my career choice and for about half of that time I had to work every Sunday. I still found ways to worship and attended worship services when I could. Too many people in the public think the Mormons are robots forced to live some rigid code or face harsh sanctions by the church. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The idea of agency, and the right for everyone to choose for themselves what they will do is a revered principle taught in the faith.
    When it comes to institutions and groups representing the church or its educational holdings it becomes the churches choice as to what will occur and that is why BYU athletic programs will not participate on Sundays the day of worship for Mormons.

  • Ben

    I think it is a straight oversight on the organizers in making that mistake. As for the Cougar Rugby Club, I can only pray that a miracle happens and that they can play on any day other than Sunday. Having played rugby for the Cougars all those years just to forfeit the finals because it was on a Sunday sucked, however, keeping Sunday as a holy day was awesome. Individuals make choices, but the school is governed by the church and will abide by its teachings. I had buddies that went out on Sundays to play with other clubs and that was their choice. Steve Young, Austin Collie, Duece Lutui, Ed Mulitalo, etc. are all good Mormons, and they all have their agency to make choices.

  • Roberto

    It’s an interesting dilemma. I remember in a past year when the Cougar women were not officially attached to the school for some reason which threatened their eligiblity for college rugby. It’s nice to see that issue resolved but this new one stinks. It seems if it’s at all possible USAR could move the game in this situation. It seems wrong to rob these players of this chance when it may be avoidable.

  • Newsguy

    Not to mention the fact that the team they would face in the next round gets robbed of the chance to play. Granted its an easy W for them but I have to believe any good team would rather play for a win than accept a forfeit. I have to believe something can be done to avoid a forfeit. I hope they can.

  • Matt

    Fnally some christians standing up for christianity.

  • Jake

    in fact…BYU’s Rugby teams are not school sanctioned sports…these girls got together themselves and decided as a team that they were going to follow the Schools Rule and not play on sunday…they could very well play the game if they chose to! but they still wear that BYU accross their Jersey…they still represent their school and i think its outstanding that they are following their beliefs and not playing on sunday! way to go girls! this is what Champions are made of…i smell a cheesey Disney Movie being thought up about this RIGHT NOW!!!

  • James

    The main problem is that other Christian schools arent doing the same thing. Why are we not hearing about Notre Dame, Duke, TCU, etc doing this

  • scott715

    Yes that is a question that I have wondered too. Don’t those other “Christian” schools have belief too? With religion being attacked today we all need to stand up for what is right!

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